Agenda item

Objections to the Crawley Borough Council Tree Preservation Order - Oak Trees Located Between 92 Gales Drive and 139 Three Bridges Road - 02/2023

To consider report PES/432 of the Head of Economy and Planning.




The Committee considered report PES/432 of the Head of Economy and Planning which sought to determine whether to confirm the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) 02/2023 – oak trees located between 92 Gales Drive and 139 Three Bridges Road – with or without modification for continued protection, or not to confirm the TPO.


Councillors Ali, Bounds, Jaggard, Nawaz, and Pritchard declared they had visited the site.


The Principal Planning Officer (VC) provided a verbal summation of the application, which related to two large oak trees situated in a residential garden in Three Bridges.  In February 2023 the trees were protected under a six month provisional TPO, which the Committee was now requested to confirm.


Mihir Desai, the householder of 139 Three Bridges Road, spoke in objection to the application.  Matters raised included:

·       Throughout the process of the making of the provisional TPO, the Local Planning Authority’s communication had been inadequate.  Administrative errors had caused delays and an officer’s visit to the site occurred at a late stage in the process.

·       There was no intention to fell the trees, but they did not have high amenity value and were not visible from the Three Bridges Road footpath.  There were a number of trees along Three Bridges Road which did not seem to be subject to TPOs.

·       The trees were not in good health – both had deadwood and thinning crowns, and one was leaning – this provoked worries about the safety of the garden as a family environment.


The Committee then considered the application, and in doing so, raised queries regarding the process of the making of a provisional TPO.  In response to these queries, officers clarified that any person can contact the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to enquire about the status of a tree.  Once the LPA has checked whether a tree is protected, it then makes checks on the tree’s health and amenity value.  If the LPA concludes that a tree is valuable and/or under threat of damage, felling, or over-pruning, a provisional TPO can be made for a duration of six months.  The process was a reactive one based on the perceived risk to a tree; it was common for an LPA to make a provisional TPO following an enquiry from a member of the public.


The following points were also raised as part of the discussion:

·       The confirming of the TPO would not necessarily prevent works from being undertaken to the trees in the future, but an application to do so would need to be made to the LPA.  The application would be assessed and advice sought from the Council’s arboricultural officer prior to any felling, pruning or trimming being permitted.  Any works that were subsequently agreed would be in line with good arboricultural practice.

·       One of the trees had been significantly pruned prior to the making of the provisional TPO.  The level of trimming was beyond what would normally be considered acceptable.

·       Committee members considered the safety risks to residents using the garden in which the trees were situated and highlighted the importance of the LPA visiting the site and seeking to understand residents’ concerns about the safety of the trees.  Officers explained that no tree health issues or safety issues were identified upon the initial making of the TPO, but if concerns arose, an application for works could be made.

·       The Committee queried the TPO process and the communication residents had received from the LPA, but it was noted that this could not be a consideration when deciding whether or not to confirm the TPO as the decision was to be made on the basis of the tree’s merits and amenity value. In general, the matter of tree protection fell under the portfolio of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development.


The Committee then moved to a vote.




Confirm without modification.


Supporting documents: